Climate change and sustainable finance

Please note that I do not consider myself an expert in climate change nor an environmental capmpaigner. Nor am I politically motivated. I am interested in this topic because, as an economist with financial sector experience and an ex-regulator, I believe I can see and understand the immediate and longer-term risks to investment portfolios and want to help get both public and private policy properly focussed.  Proper attention to mitigate these risks will support financial stability and growth and, amongst other things,  help protect future pensions, as well as accelerate the push towards a green planet rather than a greenhouse planet.

How did I get into this?  In my last couple of years at the Bank of England (I stepped down at end-July 2016 after 26 years there), as Deputy Head of the PRA and whilst also covering as the Executive Director for Insurance Supervision,  I was asked to co-ordinate the Bank’s work on climate change.

That wider work programme (the credit for which belongs to those doing the work in each case, rather than me) involved:

  1. The work done by the PRA insurance team which was published in an influential paper in September 2015. Link:
    The impact of climate change on the UK insurance sector .
  2. The initial work done on a G20 study group on green finance that was co-chaired by the People’s Bank of China and the Bank of England.  Reports were issued in September 2016.  Link :  G20 Green Finance Study Group Document Repository.
  3. Research papers produced by the Bank’s research hub.  See:
    The impact of climate change on central banks .
  4. Given Governor Mark Carney’s role as chair of the FSB, the work of the Bank team supporting him in this area: specifically on the Private Sector Task Force on Climate-related Disclosures (TFCD).  Note that the Bank was not directly represented on the group.  A link to final report may be found via the TFCD website.

My role was to act as the senior focal point below the Governor and make sure it was all coherent etc. I also spoke at a number of external events about the wider programme, including the historic COP21 meetings in Paris, December 2015.

Since leaving the Bank in mid-2016 I have become an (unpaid) Senior Associate (Fellow from June 2018)  at the Cambridge University Institute for Sustainability Leadership to help with their work on the financial sector. Link: CISL home page.  Specifically I helped in relation to setting up a new Insurance Advisory Council and became vice-chair of the Banking Environment Initiative.

In October 2016 (and again in 2017) I went to Australia at the invitation of Climate Alliance Australia to talk at their annual conference(s) and to investment leaders about the financial risks from climate change.  In 2016, we spoke to some 16 group audiences in Melbourne and Sydney with additional coverage on TV, radio, Bloomberg and printed press.  You can see some of that coverage here.  We did a similar trip for a week in 2017 focussed on the TCFD and have another week planned for November 2018 focussing on the HLEG  (see below).  Many thanks to Ben Scheltus and the Climate Alliance team.

In December 2016 I was appointed to an EC High-Level Experts Group (HLEG) on sustainable finance.  See the News & Media section of this site for more details or go to the EC Press Release .

  • An interim report was published on 13th July 2017 and may be downloaded here.
  • The HLEG’s Final Report was published on January 31 2018.
  • The EC’s Action Plan was published on 7 March.
  • The official launch was on March 22nd in Brussels.
  • On 24 May the Commission made its initial legislative proposals, which can be found here.

I also published a short article on the risks and opportunities for the financial sector arising from climate change in the December 2016/January 2017 issue of Financial World, the journal of the London Institute of Banking and Finance which is published in association with the CSFI .   The text of the article may be found here.

In February 2017 I was invited by the European Climate Foundation to help present a new report advising the Norwegian sovereign wealth fund to invest 5% of its funds in unlisted renewable energy infrastructure. The report was co-authored and led by Tom Sanzillo, Finance Director of the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. We both gave a number of media interviews around the topic.  For links please see the News&Media page.

Also in February 2017 it was announced that I had been appointed to be vice-chair of the Banking Environment Initiative supported by CISL.  Further details can be found here.

In September 2017 it was announced that I had been appointed to the  UK Green Finance Task Force. This Taskforce worked with industry to make recommendations to accelerate the growth of green finance, and help to deliver the investment required to meet the UK’s carbon reduction targets.  The Report was published on 28 March 2018 and can be found here.   The first of the recommendations, for a new green Finance Institute to brand the UK’s efforts, has been accepted and was announced on 21 June. I have been appointed to the Advisory Group, so lets hope we can making it a storming success!

For media pieces see the Media page of this website.